University of London

Understanding Research Methods

Taught in English

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339,300 already enrolled


Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Dr J. Simon Rofe, SOAS, University of London
Dr Yenn Lee
Dr Dan Plesch, SOAS University of London

Instructors: Dr J. Simon Rofe, SOAS, University of London


(7,337 reviews)

5 hours to complete
3 weeks at 1 hour a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

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There are 4 modules in this course

PURPOSE: To focus upon formulating a research question. TASK: Please compose a brief question pertaining to your proposed research - whatever the subject - and post it under the 'My Project' tab in the peer review exercise below. Be brief insofar as it would fit on one metaphorical or literal 'Post-It' note. Also watch our interview videos below. RESPONSE: Having reflected on the videos, review other students' questions. Feeding back is an important part of the research process, so please spend some time providing considered feedback for three or more colleagues here. OUTCOME: You will have given considered thought to composing a research question and provided feedback to others on theirs.

What's included

6 videos1 reading1 peer review

PURPOSE: To familiarise yourself with the nature and benefits of conducting a literature review. TASK: Please read the following three pieces on literature review, in conjunction with the interviews below. Then post your thoughts on one of the readings to the 'My Project' tab of the peer review (200 words). RESPONSE: Provide feedback on three or more submissions by your fellow students. OUTCOME: Upon the completion of the full cycle of this e-tivity, you will be able to distinguish the qualities of a literature review and begin to reflect on the value of a literature review to your own project.

What's included

4 videos1 reading1 peer review

PURPOSE: To be aware of the planning and management skills that are required in undertaking critical thinking for your research. TASK: Please watch the videos below, and also read the chapter provided. In conjunction with your reflections on the learning material provided and also research planning and management in general, please post your thoughts on the chapter, in no more than 400 words, under the 'My Project' tab. RESPONSE: Provide feedback on three or more submissions by your fellow students. OUTCOME: Upon the completion of the full cycle of this e-tivity, you will have reflected on the skills required to enhance your research.

What's included

5 videos1 reading1 peer review

PURPOSE: To reflect upon the value of a good question, and provide an outline research proposal. TASK: In conjunction with our videos below, please go back to your research question proposed during E-tivity 1 and consider again whether you are still happy with it. Is the question one you are still interested in and one you think worthy of devoting your time and energy to? If so, after reflecting on your question, please compose an outline plan on how you would follow on from establishing your research question. Please submit your proposal, up to 800 words. RESPONSE: Provide feedback on three or more proposals submitted by your fellow students. OUTCOME: Upon the completion of the full cycle of this e-tivity, you will have formulated, in draft form, an overarching research question, and a plan of action to complete the research. In doing this, you will have honed your writing, research and analytical skills.

What's included

4 videos1 peer review


Instructor ratings
4.6 (2,379 ratings)
Dr J. Simon Rofe, SOAS, University of London
University of London
2 Courses513,548 learners

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